A SURE TEST OF ANY theology is to ask, “Does God exist before human beings?”
Among other things, the answer can shed light on one’s grasp of science. For if you allow for a God who watched over the dinosaurs, who saw the primordial soup trend toward consciousness on a billion planets, who was delighted by the Big Bang — in short, One who doesn’t need humans to survive and Whom humans can only love fiercely but dimly — you may well be on to something.
EVIDENTLY, SHE WROTE A POEM in 1928 called “Dirge With Music.” I have not yet read any of her other works, but I hope they’re like this one. The last stanza says it all:
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
(Thanks to Rabbi David Wolpe for the quotation.)
THE WORLD LOOKS A LITTLE more friendly with something fragrant bubbling on the stove.
PROLONGING THE GOD EXPERIENCE INTO every waking moment. (All else — songs, prayers, chants, acts, texts, charity, incense, beads, building fund — is just stage direction. Which is not to dismiss the stage direction, since that’s one of the keys to the Experience. But the key isn’t the lock, and what you really want anyway is to open.)
O G?D, DEAREST AND WISEST One, Maker of mercies and miracles, Describer in line and form, please: Save us from those sincere souls who know what You really meant.
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METAL = ROCKS + FIRE / SLAG.
WRITING = WORDS x TIME / TALENT.
LOVE = PEOPLE – EGO x ACTION.
COOKING = INGREDIENTS + TASTE x EXPERIENCE.
TEACHING = THOUGHT1 + THOUGHT2 x EXPERTISE / TOPIC.
FILM = IMAGES + SOUND x IMAGINATION
MUSIC = RHYTHM + MELODY x SOUL
ART = INTENTION + MATERIAL + ACTION
1. HITCHHIKING THROUGH RENO IN 1985, I wandered by the green banks of the Truckee River, where a number of better-days men lived in the park, in what apparently remained of their business suits.
“Hey buddy, you got a second?” An older man, anyway older than I was — maybe 35. Dirty face, dirtier clothes.
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WE ARE THE WRESTLERS-WITH-God,
the ones grabbing His lapels and hollering “Speak up, sonny!”
and don’t worry about staining the carpets.
And we like It that way.
You who put God on a shelf
Who pull Him out once or twice a year to look at and sigh over
Who wrap Him in chains of fear and “can’t”
Ought to be ashamed of yourselves
For not knowing all the Fun you’re missing.
RELIGION, OR AT LEAST JEWISH religion, and certainly a root cause of religion’s comfort, appeal and danger, is simply and little more than people doing what they like to do in the way they like and feel compelled to do it.
AND AFTER ALL IS SAID and done, and the horrible truth revealed
The bodies taken away, the last question answered
Comes William S Burroughs
(the gravelly graandpa who’s done things the grownups won’t let you ask him about).
“Interdimensional Alka Seltzer,” he says, proffering a grey fizzing mug,
and sits down beside you.
You take the cup.
He speaks volumes with his eyes
(they’ve seen it all, long before you were born)
but his mouth only says
what you wish it always wouldn’t:
“That’s just the way it is, Out Here.”